Go with the Chloe: Pets are not disposable


Chloe Meredith , Managing Editor of Content

Many of the new privileges that are gifted to you when you turn the ripe age of 18 include buying cigarettes, cashing in lottery tickets, and having the ability to call yourself an adult. Another highly anticipated privilege is the ability to adopt a pet to add to your family.

As exciting and lovely as adopting a pet can be, it holds many responsibilities that many aren’t ready for. People can convince themselves they want nothing more than to adopt this cute pet they saw at Pet Smart, but do they actually think thoroughly over the decision?

Many believe the mistreatment of animals is limited to neglect and abuse, but abandonment can be just as damaging. To be clear, abandonment ranges from leaving a pet in the middle of nowhere to fend for themselves or selling them to another owner. Abandonment is the act of surrendering your rights – and duties – as an owner.

Not matter how common, exotic, big or small the animal is, when you adopt, you are that precious animal’s companion, their lifeline. Surrendering them is not only extremely irresponsible, but incredibly harmful. Abandoning your pet hurts them just as much as if you were abandoned. According to Psychology Today, emotional harms towards animals is worse in their eyes than physical harm, and recent studies show animals would rather face physical pain than emotional pain, such as loss or abandonment.

Don’t get me wrong, I realized as a child that giving up pets was immoral, but I still feel the need to voice my grievance since recently I’ve witnessed several instances of this heinous act. It’s absolutely insane to me how adults – no matter the age – can be so irresponsible and careless. I will never understand why anyone would allow themselves to welcome a loving animal into their home, just to get rid of the pet at the blink of an eye. There are many excuses out there: owners getting bored of their low-energy pets, looking to profit, not having the passion to deal with behavioral problems, and/or regretting not thinking through the purchase of his/her new pet.

However, I do understand situations when pet owners find themselves in financial trouble, forcing them to surrender ownership rather than putting their animals in dangerous or uncomfortable living situations. They are the exception.

Aside from those situations, even worse than selfishly dropping a pet off at a shelter or returning a pet back to a pet store, is when pet owners purchase exotic (animals considered not typically domestic) pets and later release them into the wild, when the animals grow too big to handle or are no longer appealing to the owner. This not only threatens the well being of the animal, but the entire surrounding ecosystem. Releasing no-longer-wanted pets into the wild runs the risk of harming the environment they are released in by interfering with the food chain or affecting the plant life and waters, claims the organization One Green Planet.

Most importantly, pets are not trading cards. You don’t buy them to add to your collection or because they’re aesthetically pleasing. You should adopt a pet because you want a companion and they offer you just that. Provide pets with the love and the support they need, just make sure you are willing to give it in the long run.

So I urge you, as our generation grows up and reaches the legal age of 18, consider all aspects before committing to a pet, regardless of species. I know you can now buy that Betta fish at Pet Smart, but consider all aspects before you purchase, for your – and the fish’s – sake.